Top 5 Considerations when migrating to Australia

If you’re intending or in the process of migrating to Australia, it’s an exciting time indeed…new challenges, new adventures and new possibilities! But while the country is a treasure to behold and a great place to set up home, that doesn’t mean it is cheap and the expenses mount pretty quickly. How you plan your finances during the initial settlement period will go a long way in ensuring that you have a smooth transition into your new country.

Compared to the rest of the world, major Australian cities like Sydney – the most expensive of all – but also Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and others, are getting more and more expensive at an ever-increasing rate.

Here is a sample table of living costs in NSW for a family of four (Two adults with two children). The figures indicated are very broad and will vary based on your lifestyle, personal circumstances and the city you choose to live in.

Money Saving Tips - Migrant Ninja

Here are the Top 5 considerations when migrating to Australia and things you need to keep in mind when planning your move:

1. Your place

Undoubtedly the most important expense is your house, and many migrants, at least initially, will enter the rental market. This will mean having some money for the rental bond and the first period of rent for starters. Buying a house may also be an option, and if that’s the case, there’s always what the Australians call a ‘fixer-upper’ in a suburb with a rising value.

Do your research and select the most appropriate suburb to live in based on your budget and family requirements? Most leading estate websites also have informative blogs and this is always a great start point for commencing your research. Here are some of the real-estate websites:

REALESTATE

DOMAIN

Need more info? Here’s a handy Australian government LINK 

Do you own a place in your existing country and you’re not sure if you might be back in a few years? Consider putting tenants in it.

But if you really are making a clean start from scratch in Australia, the government has help ready for you. Visit the LINK for more information.

2. Your stuff

Migrants are open to new adventures, but you may still have sentimental attachments to some of the home furnishings and goods that you’ll be tempted to bring along with you.

But if you are thinking to yourself ‘I think I may be bringing too many things’, your instinct is probably right.

So here’s some great advice – If you can’t pack in a suitcase or may not pass custom regulations (Think – Exotic plants etc.), then it is best to not bring it along. Better still, sell it. When it comes to beds, sofas and things like that, it’s going to be an awful lot cheaper to buy once you’re there.

Here are some furniture and white goods websites which will provide some insight on costs of common household goods.

HARVEY NORMAN

FANTASTIC FURNITURE

Migrant Ninja Tip – As a newly arrived migrant it is preferable to look for second-hand goods at least you have got your first job or have decided which city you will eventually settle in. Visit the online portal GumTree . This is the first place people go to sell items when they need to make money fast. ‘Op-Shopping’ is another great way to grab some great second-hand goods at cheap prices. Visit Vinnies (Vincent De Paul), Red Cross or similar charity run stores which are available in most cities and towns

3. Your food

As we said, cost of living is through the roof in Australia – even when all you’re doing is putting a square meal on the table. Here are some average costs of common grocery products. (Prices will vary based on state and regions)

Money Saving Tips Australia

                 Source : Numbeo (June-2018)

So if you think the supermarket is your only option, think outside the box. At farmer’s markets (usually held every Sunday morning in most towns), for instance, you can get fresh produce at heavily discounted rates, and there are cheaper alternatives to the supermarket too – like Aldi. Your shopping options will be severely limited in regional towns though.

4. Health Insurance

Imagine setting up in Australia with a very specific budget and then being slapped with costs you didn’t bargain for. A common miscalculation is when it comes to health insurance. Many Australian migrants think that the government pays for everything – but while the social security system in Australia is good, it’s still not completely free.

Yes, there’s Medicare that provides some subsidised services including free treatment at public hospitals, but if you’re not a permanent resident or a citizen, you may not be eligible.

Not sure? Check out this Department of Human Services page for migrants: LINK

Apart from that, some visa holders will actually have to go one step further and take out private health insurance. To check what MEDICARE actually covers visit this LINK

To know more about Private Health Insurance visit – Private Health

Migrant Ninja Tip – If you are a new migrant to Australia, then you have until the later of 1 July following your 31st birthday or the first anniversary of your full Medicare registration to take out private hospital cover without incurring a Lifetime Health Cover loading. See my earlier post to learn MORE

5. Your Job

Getting a job could most probably be more difficult than getting a Visa Grant. No matter what anyone says, it is not a level playing ground, especially for newly arrived migrants. As a Migrant, you are not only competing with local Australian Job seekers but you also have certain other handicaps to address:

  1. Lack of ‘Local Australian Experience’.
  2. Incorrect or Unacceptable Resume and Cover Letter formats.
  3. Difficulty in absorbing Australian culture.
  4. Local Employers not recognising Overseas qualifications or experience.

All sound overwhelming, expensive and difficult? Don’t stress! You’ll get there! Most new arrivals face a similar range of challenges at the onset but the road does get easier the further along you travel. Remember – This is a land of migrants and more often than not help will arrive in the form of migrant settlers from an earlier time who understand the pains of settlement.

Note – Based on your circumstances, you might even be eligible for a range of government benefits, payments and services, like the Adult migrant English program , interpreting services, and some other government initiatives for newly arrived migrants here – LINK.

Good luck!

Visit my earlier post for top 10 tips on budgeting in Australia:

Top 10 Tips on Budgeting when you migrate to Australia

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MIGRANT NINJA TIP – When applying for Centrelink benefits or financial support as a newly arrived migrant it is necessary to know that there is a minimum waiting period before any financial support can be provided. This is usually 104 weeks from your date of arrival (Certain exceptions can be made). Visit this LINK for further information. 

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